Saturday January 28, 2012 Day 21 Finished El Madrigal

  1. Barca suffer title blow at Villarreal

    Barca suffer title blow at Villarreal

    Barcelona allowed the gap between themselves and Real Madrid to widen to seven points after being held to a 0-0 draw at Villarreal. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Villarreal CF
    • FC Barcelona
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    • 90+3' FULL TIME. Barca are now seven points behind Real Madrid after a frustrating evening.
    • 90+2' Now Alves goes into the book.
    • 90+1' We will have three added minutes.
    • 90' Senna is injured and is replaced by Carlos Marchena.
    • 89' Thiago talks himself into a booking. Stupid from the young midfielder.
    • 88' Messi denied again as a firm effort is saved by that man Lopez.
    • 87' Barca go close! Fine work as Messi and Sanchez exchange passes but his low shot is saved by Lopez, and Fabregas hammers the rebound over the bar!
    • 86' Ah, apparently Spanish TV are claiming that the first 'yellow card' shown to the defender was actually shown to a team-mate. So we haven't had a Graham Poll-esque mistake here.
    • 85' Gonzalo booked! He pulls Tello to ground in a frankly ridiculous challenge and surely he has already been booked? He was credited with a yellow card in the first half but he isn't being shown a red.
    • 83' Ruben is replaced after injuring his shoulder and Javier Camunas is on in his place.
    • 81' So what else do Barca have in store for us? That is as close as they have gone so far.
    • 79' What a save! Tello lays the ball off to Fabregas and he takes a touch before firing in a shot that takes a deflection and appears to be heading in. However, Lopez does superbly to throw out his arm and divert the ball onto the bar. Sanchez tries to snaffle up the rebound but throws himself to ground under contact from Gonzalo in a failed attempt to win a penalty.
    • 77' Cristian Tello, a striker, comes on for Adriano, while Thiago replaces Xavi in a double change for Barcelona.
    • 76' Barcelona are beginning to turn the screw now. They are pouring forward at every chance and Villarreal will have to step up their level of resistance.
    • 75' Now Fabregas reacts petulantly when the referee fails to give a foul when he is brought to ground.
    • 74' Fabregas slips a lovely pass into Sanchez but Villarreal manage to clear once again.
    • 72' Cani replaced by Gonzalo Castellani.
    • 71' Villarreal stand firm once again in the face of the Barcelona attack. They have defended excellently tonight.
    • 70' Messi takes the free kick and thunders his effort into the wall. A wasted effort, but to be honest it looked a bit too far out for the Argentina star anyway.
    • 69' Here goes Messi though. He runs 30 yards with the ball and Oriol can only halt him by grabbing hold of his shirt. The Villarreal players are angry when the foul is awarded and Marcos Senna talks himself into a booking.
    • 67' This has been a very disappointing match so far: Barcelona are well below their best.
    • 65' Another free kick, this time following a foul by Sanchez. This game has been dogged by a succession of fouls.
    • 63' Adriano gets away from a couple of challenges but gets his shot wrong as it rises over the bar. Not bad from the Brazilian.
    • 62' Sanchez quickly gets into the action when receiving a square pass from Fabregas and trying to loft the ball back in the direction of the midfielder.
    • 61' Ah, Pique is having an ice pack strapped onto his leg, which explains a lot. It seemed a strange change on the face of things.
    • 60' Here comes Sanchez and it is Pique who is replaced. Bizarre. Mascherano will drop back into defence then and Adriano will be moved into midfield.
    • 59' Alexis Sanchez appears to be stripping off. He will come on for Adriano I suspect and will be much more of a threat.
    • 58' Adriano gets free again down the left but his cross is cut out. He tries again 30 seconds later and finds Alves at the back post, but Villarreal block him out.
    • 56' Just as an aside, Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles has just tweeted that Jose Mourinho has decided to quit Real Madrid at the end of the season for a Premier League job. His Mourinho stuff is usually pretty impeccable too.
    • 54' Adriano embarks on a fine run into the box, only to be halted by a fine challenge from Bruno.
    • 52' Just to reiterate, if Barca do draw this match they will be a full seven points behind Real Madrid at the top of the table.
    • 50' So a shaky start to the half from Barca. They are in real danger of ceding more points to Real Madrid in the title race here.
    • 48' Busquets produces a very messy challenge on Valero in the box and the Villarreal midfielder goes to ground. Busquets didn't get the ball and took the man: it should have been a penalty.
    • 47' Alves charges infield to halt Senna and commits a blatant foul when bringing him down clumsily from behind.
    • 46' KICK OFF!
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    • 45+1' HALF TIME. Villarreal have enjoyed a decent half and it remains goalless.
    • 45' Alves - yes, Alves - is currently playing as the central striker. Madness.
    • 44' Stat from Opta: "After Getafe (seven), Barcelona have won the most points away from home after going behind in the league this season (five)."
    • 42' An unbelievable pass from Messi. Pinged off his toe and through a crowd of players. Just sublime. Fabregas messes things up with a heavy touch though.
    • 41' Marco Ruben is in the book, though I am not entirely sure what for.
    • 40' Barca look to hit Villarreal on the break but Messi loses his footing and goes down in pain when colliding with a yellow shirt. Concerning moments for Barca but he is okay to continue.
    • 39' Gonzalo is shown a yellow card for his protestations to a linesman after Villarreal are penalised for a foul on Mascherano.
    • 38' Villarreal have been very impressive in the past five minutes or so and Barcelona should be concerned about dropping more points away from home.
    • 36' From the subsequent corner, Gonzalo heads the ball home but he was clearly offside when doing so.
    • 36' Villarreal go close! Senna unleashes a ferocious snap-shot from the edge of the box and Valdes throws himself to his left to tip it round the post.
    • 35' Cani plays a masterful ball over the top of the Barcelona defence and Ruben has to hold off Puyol before putting his foot through the ball and blasting it well over the bar. A poor effort.
    • 33' Villarreal threaten as Oriol produces a fine cross from the left but Abidal, who has been sensational, heads clear once again.
    • 31' Alves takes responsibility as it's too far out for Xavi or Messi and the right-back's low effort flies wide of the post. Lopez was never in trouble.
    • 30' The first booking of the game as Mateo Musacchio takes Messi's legs away from him from behind. Free kick to Barcelona some 35 yards from goal.
    • 29' Marcos Senna clatters into Fabregas from behind to give away a free kick.
    • 28' Villarreal go close! Valdes comes off his line to try and punch clear and collides with Pique. The ball pops up into the air and Mascherano is forced to head off the line! Abidal then blocks a follow-up shot.
    • 27' Marco Ruben goes to ground clutching his face after a contact with a stray elbow from Busquets. There didn't look to be any real intent but it is a foul.
    • 26' Messi drives forward with intent but his pass to Adriano is lacking and Villarreal go unpunished. He hasn't quite been himself tonight.
    • 25' Carles Puyol cedes possession with a poor pass but Villarreal can't carve out a shooting opportunity as a result.
    • 24' Stat from Opta: "Cesc Fabregas has played more matches without losing than any other player in the league this season (W9 D5)."
    • 23' Excellent work from Valero as he jinks away from his marker and fires in a fine cross that forces Eric Abidal to head away.
    • 22' Adriano lifts a cross to the back post and Messi charges in in anticipation of the ball. However, there is too much on it and Messi gives up.
    • 21' The referee charges over to the Villarreal bench and sends off one of Jose Molina's assistants! He must have said something untoward.
    • 20' Stat from Opta: "Last time out against Sporting, Villarreal ended a run of six league games without a win."
    • 18' What a chance! Alves plays in Messi with a glorious pass and Messi allows the ball to run on before gently lifting it over Lopez. The ball just sneaks wide as Gonzalo races back.
    • 17' Villarreal stupidly give the ball away to Messi 25 yards from goal but his pass to Fabregas is cut out. Good recovery.
    • 16' From the corner, Gerard Pique produces a firm header that nevertheless lacks the pace to really trouble Diego Lopez.
    • 15' Nice one-touch football from Barca and Messi plays in Alves, who sees his rather weak effort blocked behind for a corner by Joan Oriol.
    • 15' Valero, having earlier crunched Xavi, now takes Sergio Busquets's legs out from under him. He needs to rein things in or he will be getting shown a yellow card for persistent fouling.
    • 14' Alves and Valero clash heads and the Barca man requires treatment after dropping to the floor. The physio tends to him.
    • 13' Stat from Opta: "Barcelona have won only four of their nine away games in the league this season, and have nine fewer points on the road than Real Madrid (25)."
    • 11' Lovely stuff from Messi. He lifts the ball over his marker but then snatches at a volley as he thumps the ball high into the stands.
    • 11' Villarreal are starting to find their rhythm a touch, though of course it has been a desperately poor season by their standards and they haven't been at their best for some time.
    • 10' A nice passing move from Villarreal results in a rather disappointing shot from Cani as his effort dribbles into the arms of Victor Valdes.
    • 9' Xavi pops a nice pass out to Alves on the right but his cross fails to find a Barca shirt.
    • 8' It is Messi who takes the free kick but Villarreal head clear.
    • 7' Gonzalo now chops into Cesc Fabregas from behind as Barca win another free kick.
    • 6' Stat from Opta: "Barca have scored the most first half goals in the league this season (34)."
    • 5' Borja Valero is penalised for a foul on Xavi after going in high with his studs in an effort to try and win the ball.
    • 3' Alves has a shot turned round the post by Diego Lopez despite a hint of offside. But he wasn't, and wins a corner. Barca waste the set-piece.
    • 2' Dani Alves and Adriano - normally full backs - flank Lionel Messi in the front three due to a string of injuries in the Barca side. Javier Mascherano is sitting in defence.
    • 1' KICK OFF!
    • 20:57 Barca coach Pep Guardiola: "In the last couple of years it’s been a difficult ground for us, it won’t be any different this time. Their position in the standings does not correspond to the quality of the players they have or to their recent history. They continue to play football very well."
    • 20:56 Villarreal coach Jose Molina: "We must try to play every game taking the ball, although we know that against Barca this will be much more difficult. We're going to try and maybe we need to do different things to get it. They are used to keeping a high pace in games. We must show personality and go to try to win the game."
    • 20:54 Alexis Sanchez does not start for Barca after a heavy challenge from Real Madrid's Pepe in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. Pedro (abductor strain), David Villa (broken leg), Ibrahim Afellay (ligament damage) and Andres Iniesta (hamstring tear) are all missing from the squad. Goalkeeper Victor Valdes comes back into the side while Javier Mascherano also starts after missing the midweek game.
    • 20:52 Mateo Musacchio returns to the home XI after a minor knock but there is no place for Carlos Marchena, Javi Camunas and Wakaso Mubarak, who are also fit again. Jose Catala is absent after receiving surgery on his right knee while Giuseppe Rossi remains injured with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
    • 20:50 Villarreal: Diego Lopez; Angel, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Oriol; Senna, Bruno Soriano, Cani, Borja Valero; Joselu, Marco Ruben /// Barca: Valdes; Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal; Sergio Busquets, Mascherano, Xavi; Cesc, Messi, Adriano.
    • 20:45 Welcome to coverage of the Liga match between Villarreal and Barcelona at El Madrigal.
  • Summary

    • 87' Barca go close! Fine work as Messi and Sanchez exchange passes but his low shot is saved by Lopez, and Fabregas hammers the rebound over the bar!
    • 79' What a save! Tello lays the ball off to Fabregas and he takes a touch before firing in a shot that takes a deflection and appears to be heading in. However, Lopez does superbly to throw out his arm and divert the ball onto the bar. Sanchez tries to snaffle up the rebound but throws himself to ground under contact from Gonzalo in a failed attempt to win a penalty.
    • 70' Messi takes the free kick and thunders his effort into the wall. A wasted effort, but to be honest it looked a bit too far out for the Argentina star anyway.
    • 48' Busquets produces a very messy challenge on Valero in the box and the Villarreal midfielder goes to ground. Busquets didn't get the ball and took the man: it should have been a penalty.
    • 36' Villarreal go close! Senna unleashes a ferocious snap-shot from the edge of the box and Valdes throws himself to his left to tip it round the post.
    • 35' Cani plays a masterful ball over the top of the Barcelona defence and Ruben has to hold off Puyol before putting his foot through the ball and blasting it well over the bar. A poor effort.
    • 28' Villarreal go close! Valdes comes off his line to try and punch clear and collides with Pique. The ball pops up into the air and Mascherano is forced to head off the line! Abidal then blocks a follow-up shot.
    • 18' What a chance! Alves plays in Messi with a glorious pass and Messi allows the ball to run on before gently lifting it over Lopez. The ball just sneaks wide as Gonzalo races back.
    • 16' From the corner, Gerard Pique produces a firm header that nevertheless lacks the pace to really trouble Diego Lopez.
    • 15' Nice one-touch football from Barca and Messi plays in Alves, who sees his rather weak effort blocked behind for a corner by Joan Oriol.
    • 11' Lovely stuff from Messi. He lifts the ball over his marker but then snatches at a volley as he thumps the ball high into the stands.
    • 10' A nice passing move from Villarreal results in a rather disappointing shot from Cani as his effort dribbles into the arms of Victor Valdes.
    • 20:50 Villarreal: Diego Lopez; Angel, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Oriol; Senna, Bruno Soriano, Cani, Borja Valero; Joselu, Marco Ruben /// Barca: Valdes; Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal; Sergio Busquets, Mascherano, Xavi; Cesc, Messi, Adriano.

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Line-up

  • Rate Players

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    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      - -
      Yellow Card - -
      Yellow Card - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      Yellow Card Substitution Out90′ - -
      - -
      Substitution Out72′ - -
      - -
      Strikers
      Yellow Card - -
      Yellow Card Substitution Out83′ - -
      Subs
      Substitution In90′ - -
      Substitution In83′ - -
      Substitution In72′ - -
    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      Yellow Card - -
      - -
      Substitution Out60′ - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      - -
      Substitution Out76′ - -
      - -
      Strikers
      Substitution Out76′ - -
      - -
      - -
      Subs
      Substitution In60′ - -
      Substitution In76′ Yellow Card - -
      Substitution In76′ - -

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